ANIMALS

 

Drs Nicole van der Schaaf, art historian: "... Alhoewel nog eeuwenlang de fameuze ‘Stier van Potter’ een favoriet oefenobject was, brak er toch in de 19de eeuw een meer naturalistische tijd aan voor het veeportret. Philine van der Vegte treedt met haar schitterende veestukken in de voetsporen van deze voorgangers, die het vee hun eigen karakter teruggaven en plaatsten in hun natuurlijk omgeving: de Hollandse weide. Kijk de schapen van Van der Vegte aan en zie het dier in al zijn waardigheid: kracht en onafhankelijkheid gaat samen met schoonheid. Maar zie tevens de kwetsbaarheid van het dier over wiens lot wij mensen beslissen."

Oil painting of calves sleeping at the livestock market
"Calves at the livestock market", oil on paper 50x65cm

The MILK project is about painting my immediate surroundings, with a focus on the different sides of contemporary dairy farming.

How do things really work on a modern dairy farm, and why? How does this affect the animals, the people and the landscape? I want to look into this and capture it with an open mind. Sketch and paint as much as my neighbours will allow in stables and fields. See what has been done by other painters. Talk with farmers a lot. Paint a few big cattle works. Record a life line from birth to slaughter. Educate myself, and maybe others as well.

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Large ink drawing of a flock of Zwartbles sheep
"Herd immunity", ink on paper 107x200cm

"Veilig in de kudde" (Safe in the herd) is a series in ink and chacoal on paper. It is a project I made for a solo exhibition in the church of Zuiderwoude. I started making sheep drawings in ink and charcoal just before I was invited, and they seemed perfect for this rural village. I filled the whole church with sheep paintings, making the visitors feel like like they're in the middle of a flock. The fact that these were all made in the middle of corona times with social distancing as the new normal, made me think more about the basic need of all herd animals (including people) for physical closeness and touch.

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Painting of a donkey over an advertisement with pink medicine box
"Oral Liquid Anemia Nourishing Qi", gouache on A4 printed Ejiao advertisement

Ejiao series

Donkey-hide gelatin or ass-hide glue is gelatin obtained from the skin of the donkey by soaking and stewing. It is used as an ingredient in the traditional medicine of China, where it is called ejiao.

While researching donkeys I stumbled across information about the hide trade. 5 million donkeys per year, many of which are stolen, are slaughtered for their hides to make health and beauty products. Once I became aware of the treatment of these animals I could not let it go. Finding donkey hide gelatin available online for shipping to the Netherlands apalled me and I used the ads for painting on.

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Big painting of a brown Groninger horse lying down
"Burnt sienna", oil on linen 160x200cm

Enormous horses

During the project "Portrait of a village" I started painting life size horses with oil on canvas and in ink on paper. This is still ongoing.

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Big painting of a dairy cow in the stable at the milking robot
"Composition in browns", oil on linen 200x300cm

"Portrait of a village" was my graduation project at Wackers Academy in 2018-2019. Under mentorship of the English plein air painter Jim Harris, I painted in Katwoude, a small agricultural village along the IJsselmeer dyke, just north of Amsterdam. The project officially ended with my graduation in June 2019, but it seems to be  ongoing. Most of the paintings I am making now fall into the same category of painting my local surroundings.

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You can find all animal paintings, available and sold, here. For animal commissions, look here.